Friday, April 22, 2011

A good look...

In January 2011, I made the commitment to read, pray, and write every day.  I felt led to share some of the lessons I am leaning along the way.  At times, the lessons come from the text I am reading, and other times the lessons come from experiences lived as God shows me His truths.  Well, today the lesson came at the bathroom mirror, I am confident I am called to share, so bear with me!
Lesson learned:  The mirror doesn’t lie
Several weeks ago, per my request, Brian hung a beautiful full-length mirror on the back of my closet door in the bathroom.  I had a narrow full-length mirror on a perpendicular wall, but it did not allow me to see all of myself at once.  Now, I have two mirrors in the corner which provide a full view, front and back.  This morning I put on a pair of jeans to wear to casual Friday at school.  I decided to take a quick glance at my back-side in my new full view mirror corner.  I could not believe what I saw!  Needless to say, I took off those jeans and wore some loose, casual capri pants.  I discussed my discovery with Brian.  I said, “I don’t like my backside!”  I told him about the “mirror experience.”  As I ended my vain complaints, I said, “I am either going to have to get rid of my backside, or get rid of that mirror!”
      Immediately the truth of the word pricked my heart.  So many times we want things to change. 
There have been many times in my life when seeing the truth of who I am becomes painful.  I always have two choices to make.  I could refuse to see the truth, ignore it in hopes that it goes away, no longer causing pain. What is the other choice?  I can deal with it.  In dealing with the truth, I constantly must make my life change, by extracting things which do not belong (sin, wrong thoughts, and beliefs) and add things which are beneficial (prayer, Bible study, accountability.) Many times I do not want to look at reality, but God in His steadfast love keeps bringing the truth into sight.  2 John 1:3 says, “Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.”  Because the truth helps transform me, I want to know it.  I want to live in it.  I do not want to take the mirror away!  The purpose of truth is not to condemn, but rather to allow me to experience the love, grace, mercy, and peace from the Father.  I know these changes don’t happen overnight.  If I don’t like the way my backside looks in the mirror, I have to do something about it.  I have to START now.  It doesn’t mean I will see results now, but I must know the process is as important as the results. 

Getting in great shape spiritually is similar to the process needed to get in great shape physically. 
If we follow these 4 guidelines, I know it will become easier to look in the “mirror.” 
1.       Start NOW!  You will never become a spiritual warrior or spiritually mature if you don’t take the first step.  Think of it as walking around 1 block in your neighborhood.  You don’t start by running a marathon, you start small.  Read one verse a day.  Pray for 10 minutes each morning and night.  Start!  Don’t just stand there, do something!
2.      Don’t give up!  The enemy does not want you to be transformed by the word.  It seems when I start trying to work out, I get sick, life picks up the pace with busyness, I get sore muscles, or I get injured….something sidetracks my efforts…and I let it.  If you want to gain spiritual wisdom and maturity, stick with it, even when you feel pain, injured, or life gets too busy.  It will be worth it!
3.      Find a partner!  When I determine on my own to work out, excuses come easily.  When I determine with a workout partner to get fit, I have accountability.  Get in a small (2-3 people) Bible Study group with a weekly meeting time.  The enemy loves good intentions.  Remember the saying, “Good intentions pave the way to Hell.”  If we are always “planning” to get started we can stay trapped in doing nothing…and we stay untransformed.  Commit with someone to really take steps to get in spiritual shape.  Set a time, date, find a study program or choose a book of the Bible.  Partner up and get going!
4.      Be open to change!  If I call the mirror a liar, I will never change.  We must accept the word of God.  We must invite transformation.  We must have an ear to hear and a heart to receive.  Read, study, and pray with the intent of being changed.  Know it is for your own good.  Transformation is the goal!
I have fallen fast in love with the word of God to a level deeper than I knew existed.  It is painful to see my imperfections.  I know full well I can never have the complete spiritual maturity I desire, just like I know I will never look in the mirror and be completely satisfied.  That does not stop me from taking a good look at myself.  I am learning God, in His provision and sovereignty, doesn’t want me to be satisfied!  He wants my imperfections to drive me to Him.  He wants me to keep up the spiritual workout…for a lifetime.  So, I will not get rid of the mirror.  I will leave it where it is, it will serve well as a reminder of what I need to do!

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